Today, February 1st, is the monthly lottery drawing for low-income Oregonians to get onto the Oregon Health Plan. If you're not rich, not pregnant and between the ages of 19 and 64, you could qualify to receive free or relatively cheap healthcare from the state (socialism!!1!!1). However, there are far too many people who qualify for state healthcare than the state's current health plan can afford to allow in. So every month the state stages a sort of morbid lottery, letting some of the people on the Oregon Health Plan "reservation list" into the actual program. This is the most fair and equitable system our state could come up with, but the sad fact is that many Oregonians' physical and financial futures rely entirely on the luck of a draw. Get on the lottery list here.
The other depressing fact is that this lottery system is a big step forward for Oregon. The demand for cheap healthcare was so overwhelming that the state completely closed its health plan waitlist from 2004 until November 2009. February's lottery, only the fourth in six years, is a grim reminder how screwed up our social services are despite recent political progress.